Sino Basila - Sino Basila (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sino Basila

Sino Basila (2007)

Black Box

One admitted bias I've had to overcome as a music listener is one against music without vocals, but for the most part I've been able to enjoy quite a range of instrumental music from turntablists like Kid Koala to post-rock outfits such as Do Make Say Think. I've come around to the reality that an idea can be conveyed without the use of words -- but believe me, it was hard. That is where Sino Basila, an instrumental sludgy noise project from Mike Hill of Anodyne fame, comes in.

The EP is a little less than half an hour long consisting entirely of two songs. Hill describes the aims of the band as so: "One basic idea is being put forth and the other elements are reacting to it." In this regard I'd say the band is reasonably successful, as "Draconian" starts off of a rather repetitive stop-start drum pattern and droning main guitar riff where the changes in the progression occur gradually with the secondary guitar and the drum fills. Therefore, the song does change over time but developments are dispersed in incremental doses and indeed do create a centralized feeling within the listener. "The Iron Ghetto of Man" tends to play off the reverb and feedback of the guitar a lot more in comparison to the first track and does so to great effect. The waves of dissonant guitar give off a sense of eventuality and gloom that reflect the hopelessness that the title suggests.

While Mike Hill's self-confessed aims of the band seem to be successful, in terms of actual enjoyment the songwriting is only half successful. "Draconian" comes off as a bit boring after awhile and struggles to hold your attention. While it does a good job of maintaining that main idea, the reactive elements only work in a compelling way some of the time and unfortunately for such a lengthy number, some of the time just isn't good enough. Although "The Iron Ghetto of Man" does improve things quite a bit, that only leaves half an album with only two songs to begin with.

If you are particularly a fan of noise metal or of Mike Hill's output and recording work this is probably worth a listen for the second half of the album, but to the casual fan it probably isn't worth it.